Pressure is building on NHS hospitals, with a steep rise in the number of people needing urgent treatment for coronavirus (Covid 19), senior government advisers have said.
England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said that while cases are rising fastest in the North of England, it is of “concern” that they are “heating up” in more parts of the country compared with a week ago.
Speaking at a press briefing ahead of an announcement on further restrictions from prime minister Boris Johnson, Van-Tam said other regions are now following the North West of England pattern where the virus moved through the age bands, having started spiking among young people at first.
“There is the spread from those younger age groups into the 60-plus age group in the North West and the North East, and there are rates of change in the same places but also extending a little further south,” he said.
“And this is again of significant concern, because of course the elderly suffer a much worse course with Covid-19, they are admitted to hospital for longer periods, and they are more difficult to save.”
NHS England’s national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said there is still no cure or vaccine for Covid-19 and that more people are now in hospital with coronavirus than before restrictions were announced in March.
“Sadly, as the number of those infected increases, then so will the number of people who die,” he said.
“And that’s why the Government is looking at what other measures could be introduced in the areas where infection is rising the most.
“As the Secretary of State for Health has said, if we do not take measures to control the spread of the virus, the death toll will be too great to bear.”